The followers of Christ have been called to peace. … And they must not only have peace but also make it. And to that end they renounce all violence and tumult. In the cause of Christ nothing is to be gained by such methods. … His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. They maintain fellowship where others would break it off. They renounce hatred and wrong. In so doing they overcome evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate.
–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
We build too many walls and not enough bridges. – Isaac Newton
Refraining from violence, then, is not a sign of weakness in one’s faith;
it is absolutely the opposite, a sign that one’s faith is unshakable.
– Hillary Clinton
Peacemaking often involves dismantling entrenched power. We see this when we consider Gandhi’s efforts to do away with the oppression of the caste system or Martin Luther King Jr. working to end segregation and ensure civil rights or the Sisters of Loretto working for justice for coal miners in West Virginia. This is the work of a God who changes the usual order of things, who rocks the boat, who deposes those in high positions. And this is the God we serve. – Mary Lou Redding, The Power of a Focused Heart
No, fighting for peace is rarely a glamorous affair. The icky work of peacemaking is about leaning into discomfort and swallowing your pride. It’s the scary undertaking of feeling ALL the feelings–and choosing love anyway. It’s sticking around for tough conversations when you’d rather stab a pillow. It’s parking your butt in the vinyl kitchen chair and meeting in the middle instead of hiding out at Starbucks. It’s baking scones for your love when you’re feeling vulnerable and exposed. It’s choosing to believe that your husband isn’t going to break your heart, even though your ex-boyfriend butchered it beyond recognition. It’s refusing to say scarring words–the ones you can’t take back and that he’ll never forget; words that will break both your Humpty Dumpty hearts forever. Peacemaking is “Grab the Clorox and clean the toilet bowl” kind of work. It’s also beautiful, sacred, holy work. – Tina Francis, Jerry Springer Scones: A Love Story
When someone walks into a crowd and sprays death and suffering around, the news media will spend hours telling us about a deranged shooter, but only mention in passing someone who gives their life in shielding a loved one from the bullets. Why is this? It’s because we are transfixed by the nature of violence. We are fascinated, in both fear and wonder, with violence as a form of power. Held back by our belief in the apparent power of violence, we have yet to come to realize that love is an even greater power.
– Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Spread Love
The response to injustice is to share.
The response to despair is a limitless trust and hope.
The response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness.
To work for community is to work for humanity.
– L’Arche Founder Jean Vanier, Community and Growth
James 3:16-18 (NRSV)
For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
I must confront these Moros with a divine love which will speak Christ to them though I never use His name. They must see God in me, and I must see God in them. Not to change the name of their religion, but to take their hand and say, “Come, let us look for God.” – Frank C. Laubach, Letters by a Modern Mystic
Click here for the amazing and powerful story of James Zwerg, one of the original Freedom Riders of the civil rights movement.
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